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Reflections on an Ecumenical Conference

posted 15 May 2017, 05:38 by Dean Fostekew

As a member of the Provincial Inter-Church Relations Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church, I attended the ecumenical conference in Castel Gandolfo, Rome with my colleagues at the invitation of the Roman Catholic members of the Foculare Movement. Foculare is an ecumenically minded and focused movement within the Catholic Church. The movement was founded in 1943 by Chiara Lubich as a response to the effects of war on the people of God. It seeks to offer help, support and guidance to all whom it encounters and focuses especially on social action and justice for all and everyone regardless of faith, creed or race.


While I was at conference, I spent much time reflecting on what I heard in relationship to what we do here in Murrayfield and what we have done over the past 30 years as well. Without wishing to over state things; what we do is further down the road than many others and as such it should be an inspiration for us to do even more together.


One of the strongest things I have taken away from the meeting is the phrase; “The other person completes me by their diversity”. What this means is that it is in our differences that we can come together and see glimpses of the truth. We all carry around our particular prejudices and preferences and often, it has to be acknowledged, our misunderstandings of each other and our each others faith or denomination. What we all need to remember, however, is that REAL TRUTH belongs only to Christ. Christ resurrected and found in both Word and Sacrament. We get glimpses of this truth when we celebrate our diversity and from the relationships we form from our diversity with others. Christ belongs to all Christians and to all God’s people and not just us! Working ecumenically makes us stronger as a church, as individual Christians and as human beings and when we work together we can and do transform society. 


In MCT we do this via; Christian Aid, the Murrayfield Club, Messy Church, Ecudare, the joint study groups and in the worship and prayer we share. Working together sets in motion; ‘the art of loving’ and opens our hearts to each other. The week in Castel Gandolfo affirmed for me the value that is MCT, that is ecumenical working and it has deepened and renewed my personal commitment to working together for Christian unity.


In an ecumenical audience with Pope Francis, he sent his greetings back to the churches we serve and the people we love - that is all of you. These fraternal greetings were echoed by the Orthodox and Reformed leaders as well and together they offer us support and encouragement for all that we do together. They also challenge us to do even more together for the sake of unity and in the name of Christ.

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